Gardening with a disability

Had an email recently from Gus Stewart who included a link to his website, GardenAble which he’s set up (with his cousin’s help) to support those with disabilities who would like to garden.

On the About page, Gus says he’s been in a wheelchair most of his life and initially had difficulty finding a hobby that kept him engaged. Gardening started out as a healthy outlet, a way to enjoy the outdoors, but quickly became his favourite activity.

There’s a page of practical Tips and a page of Resources, with two valuable links that offer advice applicable throughout the developed world.The Thrive website offers information about gardening with a wide range of handicaps, including after a stroke, and also includes information on gardening for emotional and mental wellbeing.

“Our research shows that gardening can help people through a specific period of difficulty in their lives. Gardening can help you get back on top of things and restore balance when it feels like your life is veering out of control. Gardening can help you feel happier, more confident and healthier.”

At the Flowerpotman website, there’s information on developing a garden for, or adapting a garden for, people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, while at the Arthritis Research UK website there’s a good page of ideas on how to get around mobility problems covering everything from weeding and mowing to choosing plants and paths. The RNIB website has a some gardening tips for those suffering sight loss.

Over the years I’ve met gardeners who have been wheelchair-bound, have lost a limb or whose sight has been markedly deteriorating. They were all doing what they could with two, in particular, finding ways around their disability so it affected them hardly at all. Inspirational.

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